You could consider Kingman as LA to Kingman via Joshua Tree NP is around 330 miles with Kingman to GCNP around 170 miles and is on the logical route.
You could also consider Lake Havasu area which is a little closer to the midpoint between LA and GCNP if you're going via Joshua Tree NP but this might require a small detour.
Should this trip be planned for the summer months... I suggest giving JT a miss & driving direct to the South Rim... With that overnight stop in Kingman, follow the "Old 66" the next morning... carracar
It's rough because there are really no great choices between Palm Springs and the Grand Canyon on the route you're going. Kingman is probably the best of them, but there are only a few good hotels and they tend to be pretty expensive as, in the summer, they get a lot of traffic. The choices in Needles are awful and Williams may be too far for you. It's a little out of the way, but my personal preference is Laughlin. You get some amazing deals during the summer (~$20/night on weekdays) and the hotels are actually very nice. It's not Vegas, but you wouldn't be spending much time there anyway. It's good for an evening.
I will take Collinaz' option and offer you a different choice.
It will save you some 60 miles (an hour of driving) for a similar experience.
Take I-15 to Baker, then follow part of the advice from the Mojave National Preserve to go down to Kelso inside the Preserve.
Head up Nipton on the northern edge before arriving into Laughlin.
You will probably see more Joshua Trees inside the Mojave Preserve.
JTNP has a more diversified landscape, but you're not going to spend enough time there to appreciate it, especially in the Summer when the difference is minimized.
Agreeing that a drive through JTNP is hardly much of an experience. Kingman or Laughlin would be my preference for overnight though if that's what you intend to do.
thanks all for your help, we will be travelling this route mid october. we will spend two nights in the canyon and can take about two nights travelling to get there. we are not on a firm amount of days at this stage. we will be spending a week in vegas for a wedding then travelling for about another 10 days through Yosemite to san fran and then down the coast line to LA to fly home. the reason i said Joshua tree NP is because i want to see one, lol, i am an aussie and want to see a joshua tree. when i leave LA our final distantaion is Vegas but i must see the grand canyon and i am not wanting to travel over the same roads twice if i can help it. was orginally thinking travelling though phoneix and the canyon that way but it seems a very long way, then my husband said he wanted to see the joshua trees, hence out change. i am going to google the route John has given here. any other suggestions would be great. am making a folder keeping all these ideas and this will help me make my final route. . the only certain things for sure so far is the vegas stay from the 16th to 22 oct. then i MUST be in a small town for Halloween, i love halloween and want to again experience a small town enjoying the night (have done it once before in Salinas). thanks again for all your help.
just googled a map route and noticed that the road into and out of Laughlin say "restricted usage road" what does this mean?
Search for another route into Laughlin. There are several main roads that can get you there more efficiently, although they might not be the shortest distance wise.
ok i have noticed that the people responding here really know there roads and some are locals. My hair is really turning grey here with all the options i have. i noticed that rex is from Sedona, that is another route i was lokking at. my goal for this part of my trip is to get from LA to GC then on to Vegas without travelling over too many roads twice. route 1 would be LA to laughlin to GC spending one night at maybe laughlin.
but i have also been told that going via scotsdale and sedona may be nice as well but that does seem a lot of driving. we are not fit people, i am 50 and my husband is 60, so we wont be hiking but want to see as much scenery as possible. we are not into nightlife and dont go out at night, so dont need casinos and the like as we can do that at home, we are more into small country towns and meeting the locals and learning about the history. thanks and sorry for all my confusion. oh and the only reason we are going to vegas is to attend a wedding. lol
Taking the southern route toward Phoenix is a good route. It's interstate highway all the way to Sedona. The idea is to avoid PHX and Scottsdale by taking I-10 to the loop 101 and then I-17 north to Sedona. The I-10 scenery is classic Mojave Desert and then from PHX north you wind through thousands of Saguaro Cacti as you climb up out of the valley into the high desert and then on to red rock country at Sedona. Then from Sedona you climb steeply up to the edge of the Mogollon Rim aka the Colorado Plateau and on to the Grand Canyon.
There is no wrong choice, and you don't need to hike or be overly active to become a part of the Arizona environment. But taking your time and going at a comfortable pace is important. Finding and learning about the history does require time, but it is worth it.